Monday, December 5, 2016

Bridget Reeves, Lighthouse Mission Ministries - December 18, 2016

Since 1923, the Lighthouse Mission Ministries desires to minister to needy men, women and children through the provision of compassionate resources and services in the Name of Jesus Christ.  Through meals, shelter, relationships, life skill classes, encouragement and accountability we seek to walk alongside people from their first day of homelessness to their last.  

The Lighthouse Mission staff invites guests and volunteers to actively participate and contribute in all levels of our programming, from developing daily schedules to grace-full discipline to the daily running of services.  The Mission houses a little over 200 people a night and serves 300 meals daily.  

For the past seven years, Bridget Reeves has been working at the Lighthouse Mission, currently serving as the Director of Programs.  In this role, she has the opportunity to be directly involved in all of the Mission's programs and services including the recent 80 bed expansion of the 24/7 Drop-in Center to meet the needs of the local community.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Gabe Eiperson, Whatcom Land Trust - December 11, 2016

Gabe Epperson, conservation director of Whatcom Land Trust, will provide an update on the Trust to those attending his presentation at the Sunday Forum of Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship on December 11, 2016 at 9:15 a.m. He also will elicit feedback from the group to prioritize areas in the county that will focus on new acquisition, conservation and restoration projects. A new Land Conservation Plan will be the culmination of this process.

The mission of Whatcom Land Trust, a nonprofit organization started in 1984, is to preserve and protect wildlife habitat, scenic, agricultural and open-space lands in Whatcom County for future generations by securing interests in land and promoting land stewardship. We partner with local governments in Whatcom County, state agencies, tribes and other organizations to help us plan and implement critical land conservation projects.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sunday Forums return Fall 2016

Sunday Forums will resume in September, 2016. Please check back for updates!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 12 Forum: Climate Change: The Paris Agreement

Presenter: Dr. William McPherson
9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. – BUF Conference Room
The Paris Agreement marked a major pivot in international negotiations on climate change. Thanks to the work of French diplomats and many others, 185 countries made pledges for emissions reductions in the months leading up to the final negotiations in December of 2015. Working behind the scenes, the French managed to develop compromises that brought together over 190 countries to agree on text for further action. The agreement did not please everyone; no agreement can do that. But it lays the groundwork for further effective action in the years ahead.
Author of Ideology versus Science and Sabotaging the Planet, Dr. William McPherson is a retired environmental diplomat with 21 years’ service in the U.S. Foreign Service, including assignments in Tokyo and Geneva. After retirement, he has continued his work on international environmental issues, working with Earth Negotiations Bulletin, a newsletter on environmental negotiations. He is an activist with the Sierra Club, working on issues of climate change and coal exports.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sunday, June 5 Forum: WA UU Voices for Justice and Northwest UU Justice Network

Presenters: DD Hilke and Julia Cochrane

BUF Conference Room – 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

Come talk with representatives of WA UU Voices for Justice and Northwest UU Justice Network at BUF on Sunday, June 5. This is an interactive workshop where your justice passions, goals and challenges set the agenda. UU justice leaders DD Hilke and Julia Cochrane respond with tools and services you can use, and can help you make connections to other UUs working on your justice issues. Whether you are working for justice within your congregation, lobbying the state legislature, or striking out individually or with secular, interfaith or tribal allies, this forum has something to offer you, and you likely have something to offer these networks of UUs working for justice. BUF’s social justice offering on June 12 will support these UU organizations.
DD Hilke began her life as a Quaker, later discovering more music and equally satisfying justice and spiritual practices in UUism in her early thirties. After 30 years of working in museums, crafting and evaluating exhibits, managing creative teams and ultimately reinventing a children’s museum, DD turned her creative and management skills to nonprofit work. Since 2011 she has served as the founding Executive Director of Northwest UU Justice Network which connects and supports UUs working on more than 50 justice issues. DD is a member of Woodinville UU Church where she sings in the choir, is a recent Past President and an active member of WUUC’s advocates for social justice.
Born in New York City and educated in architecture and math, Julia Cochrane came to Port Townsend, Washington 30 years ago. For the last twenty-two years she has worked for the Port Townsend School District and parented 37 teenagers. Her civic and justice contributions include welfare rights organizing and serving as a Housing Authority Commissioner. She also has fought exporting fossil fuels through the Salish Sea and increased militarization of the peninsula. Julia is a board member of Washington UU Voices for Justice and currently serves as co-chair of Quimper UU Fellowship’s Social Justice Council. Julia was recently tapped for an 18-month term as a UUSC Justice Building Innovator. In that role, she will tour Washington State and meet with congregational justice teams.

Friday, May 13, 2016

May 22, 2016, in the BUF Conference Room, 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m: Kiira Heymann, Core Faculty Member of Explorations Academy

Explorations Academy is unlike any other independent school in the Pacific Northwest. This fully accredited high school has served students of Whatcom and Skagit counties for over 20 years. Rooted in experiential, field-based learning, the program provides students with opportunities to explore diverse subject matter, build positive relationships with peers and adults, and engage with the world around them in meaningful ways. At this Sunday’s forum, Kiira Heymann, a member of the “core faculty,” will share important highlights from the school year and lead a discussion around the kinds of skills, experiences and aptitudes that define education today as we prepare students for a complex, challenging, and exciting tomorrow.  

Saturday, April 30, 2016

May 15, 2016 in the BUF Conference Room – 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m: Bellingham Childcare & Learning Center (BCLC): Karen Ekdahl, Executive Director

Bellingham Childcare & Learning Center, a nonprofit corporation, provides high-quality, affordable childcare to families of all income levels, assisting low-income families to become self-sufficient. Our well qualified, nurturing staff offers a developmentally appropriate and safe learning environment for 72 young children each day. 
Affordable childcare is an absolute necessity for parents who are trying to attend school to improve their economic prospects while working to pay household bills. Support in the form of tuition assistance for low-income families is one of our most important agency priorities. We empower parents to work and gain higher levels of education while providing essential early learning opportunities for their children. Our job is to help build children who will love learning not only while in school but throughout their entire lives.
BCLC has a strong connection with BUF, as several members have served the Center in various capacities over the years: Marie Hammer was one of its founding members, Francie Gass has provided parenting education and Alice Litton is a past board member. Jim Lott has organized numerous work parties at BCLC on Make a Difference Day and Becky Curtis currently teaches in one of the preschool classrooms.
Karen Ekdahl has been the executive director of Bellingham Childcare & Learning Center since February 1994. She has over 36 years of experience in Early Childhood Education.
For more information about BUF’s Sunday forums, please email the forum planners at

Saturday, April 23, 2016

May 8: Marian Beddill presents Water in Whatcom: Quantity and Quality

         Only air is more critical to life than water. Whatcom County and surrounding lands have been populated and have survived, in great part, because there is rainfall, so there's water to supply our needs. But that water might not last forever.
         QUANTITY: What if the amount of rain gets greatly reduced or the demand for more supply is greatly increased. Those are not "what-if" scenarios. They are real. And if we are smart, we will plan for them before they happen to us.

         Grabbing water from where there's an excess and piping it to where there's a need is expensive. But before you can even do that, you have to be allowed to take that water. So whose water was it before you grabbed it, and what might they do or demand if you took it without permission? The Salish Sea, the only supply of water for Whatcom that is essentially endless and publicly available, is undrinkable. It is salty and the treatment for that is also very expensive. 
         On rural lands, a single house is allowed to drill a well to obtain water for ordinary domestic needs and maybe a bit more. Our cities and a few towns have permission to take water from the surface or underground. But a bunch of homes, or a farm or business, must be granted a certified “water right” by the state. Agricultural irrigation is the largest user. And the state will not issue those permits unless they know there is available water. There is one large area in Whatcom where water availability is unknown and there are significant concerns about how to learn that availability. The people have a say but they need to know what to say to whom.
         QUALITY: Water needs to be clean in order to be safe for use by people and wildlife. If people get sick from drinking it, you know that it is NOT clean. But how might we know that before it causes illness? And how can it be treated? Better yet, how can we act to keep it from getting polluted?

Marian Beddill is a 25-year resident of Bellingham who is active in water concerns locally. Marian is a retired civil engineer and meteorologist who has worked most of her life on improvements to irrigation systems for agriculture worldwide. She also has managed various other water projects including a county public works department in Hawaii, the design of the second-largest sanitary sewer pipeline in Brazil, and the installation and management of an agricultural sprinkler factory. Marian also holds a U.S. patent for a flow-control device. 
For more information about BUF’s Sunday forums, please email the forum planners at

May 1st Introducing US Servas Presenter: Colleen Schwartz

US Servas is a nonprofit membership organization fostering understanding of cultural diversity through a global person-to-person network promoting a more just and peaceful world. Over the past 60 years, dedicated peace-minded people have created the vital worldwide hospitality network known as Servas.
Colleen Schwartz and her husband Harvey interview all local individuals applying for membership. They are Servas hosts as well as travelers, and have traveled extensively all over the world, using their Servas memberships to get to know other hosts. Colleen will lead this presentation.
Servas host members welcome Servas travelers into their homes for a limited stay, free of charge, with the opportunity of sharing a meal or meals and conversations. Servas members recognize the importance of personal relationships and the inherent worth of all people as well as the value of cultural differences. By fostering open person-to-person experiences between travelers and hosts, artificial barriers can be removed, lasting friendships can develop and social responsibility can be encouraged. Servas is a way to unite those who believe that peace is possible, once these differences are explored on a personal level. Members accomplish these goals by opening their homes and hearts and welcoming approved Servas visitors in the cause of peace.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April 24th Human Population Growth & UU Values

Does Human Population Growth Intersect with UU Values?

Dr. Ron Quinn is an ecologist, with a BA from California State University and a Ph.D.
from Princeton University. He is Professor Emeritus of Biology and Regenerative
Studies at California State Polytechic University, Pomona. He has taught population
issues to approximately 25,000 students.

Ron Quinn has been interested in human population growth since he was 17 years old.
Since that time the world population has more than doubled, and the US population has
almost doubled. The population of his birth state of California has quadrupled.
If populations were to continue growing as presently projected, most environmental
problems would inexorably worsen, and become increasingly difficult to ever solve.
The consequences of population pressures now affect some peoples and regions
more than others, but they will increasingly become equal opportunity maladies. No
one can escape all of the threats associated with global warming, epidemic diseases,
and environmental deterioration.

The first UU principle, the inherent dignity and worth of every person, is far more
likely to be realized where population sizes are stabilized or reduced. Achieving this
goal lies within the seventh UU principle, understanding ourselves as part of the
interdependent web of existence, and behaving accordingly.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April 17 Forum: Sustainable Connections

Mark Peterson, Sustainable-Business Manager of Sustainable Connections, will present an overview of the organization’s work at the April 17 Sunday forum at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship (BUF) at 9:15 a.m. 

The mission of Sustainable Connections is to promote sustainable practices such as waste reduction, energy conservation, alternative transportation and sustainable food production in businesses and in homes.

Peterson also will share exciting news about the City of Bellingham’s participation in the Georgetown University Energy Prize and how you can help our community win. The community in first place will win a cash prize in 2017.
Mark Peterson graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelor of science degree in visual communications. He is an associate professional in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and a certified project management professional. He joined Sustainable Connections in 2012.Currently, Mark is chair of the Whatcom County Solid Waste Advisory Committee.
For more information about BUF’s Sunday forums, please email the forum planners at

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

April 10 Forum: Bellingham At Home

Volunteer leaders Janet Simpson and Allen Johnson will speak at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship on Sunday, April 10, at 9:15 a.m. on the projected launch of Bellingham at Home, a program of the Whatcom Council on Aging, in late spring of this year.
For seniors who prefer staying in their own homes rather than moving into retirement homes or assisted living facilities, Bellingham at Home offers membership in a network of services called a Virtual Village. Villages are member-driven, grass-roots organizations that, through both volunteers and paid staff, coordinate access to affordable services including transportation, health and wellness programs, home repairs, social and educational activities, and other day-to-day needs, enabling individuals to remain connected to their community as they age.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

April 3, 2016:  National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Whatcom County
9:15-10:15 a.m.
BUF Conference Room

The Mission of NAMI Whatcom is to provide support, education, and
advocacy for all who may be affected by mental illness and to encourage the
recovery of individuals living with mental illness. Board member Marie
Marie Marchand and other representatives of NAMI Whatcom will speak in
an informal forum in the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship conference room
on Sunday, April 3, 2016 at 9:15 a.m. The BUF worship service will follow
at 10:30 a.m.

NAMI services include:

 Educational courses,
 Support groups,
 Educational courses offering continuing education units,
 Referrals to other community agencies,
 Brochures and other educational materials,
 A mental health providers directory and
 Volunteer opportunities.

For more information about NAMI Whatcom please call (360) 671-4950 or
email The agency’s website is For more information about BUF’s Sunday
forums, please email the forum planners at

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

March 27th: No Forum. Happy Easter!

Next forum will be held on April 3rd.

March 20th Panel presentation by International Students from Whatcom Community College

A group of Whatcom Community College students from Yemen, Pakistan, Ghana, Egypt, and Indonesia will present information about their culture and their countries followed by a Q & A session. The students are here for one year on a scholarship from the US Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. This will be an enlightening presentation! These students are highly motivated to change the world. Hosted by Shasta Pettijohn.

Check out Northwest Community College Initiative for more information about this unique program.

Contact Shasta Pettijohn if you have questions. 

March 13th End of Life Options: Washington’s Death with Dignity Law

End of Life Options: Washington’s Death with Dignity Law
Washington State, along with Oregon, leads our nation in End-of-Life choices for the terminally ill.  In 2008 Initiative 1000, better known as the “Death With Dignity Act,” passed with nearly 60% of the popular vote. Since then, End of Life Washington (formerly Compassion & Choices of Washington) has stewarded the law, providing a well-trained bank of Client Support Volunteers to counsel Washington residents interested in exploring their end-of-life options. This forum will highlight the many services provided by End of Life Washington, with particular emphasis on our state’s Death With Dignity Law.

Sally McLaughlin  MA, is the Interim Executive Director (formerly the Community Education Director) for End of Life Washington and travels the state giving presentations on the many services provided by the non-profit organization: the Advance Directive for Health Care, the Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia Mental Health Advance Directive, Washington State’s Death With Dignity Law, as well as a wide array of end-of-life choices.

March 6th "The Management of Water" Presentation by Marian Beddill

After air, water is the second most critical requirement for life and it is measured both by quantity and quality. Humans and most animals need water every day and few can survive more than three or four days without it. Plants also need a regular supply to their roots.
The purity of the water we drink also is essential. Toxic chemicals can easily slip into our bodies when carried by water. So humanity and all ecosystems need a steady, dependable, clean supply of water. As long as they get it, hardly anybody pays attention. But when water systems fail, as they have in Flint, Michigan recently, the people affected are understandably enraged.
What is the regular management and pre-planning work that needs to be done to ensure that our water supplies are safe and accessible? Who does it? We the people must play a larger role in this, and we need to be informed.

Marian Beddill’s full-time career was substantially about the management of water. As a volunteer spokesperson and advocate in Bellingham, Marian has been instrumental through the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship in caring for the earth to enable a safe, stable, sustainable life for future generations, in being just and fair in her dealings with other people, in guarding the integrity of our election systems, in being involved in political action, and in communication as it pertains to the ways folks exchange information and work to get things done

February 28th: Cultural Ecology with WWU professor Gigi Berardi

Walking in 6 worlds: Research and writing about the "other" and about yourself....

Berardi speaks as a journalist,  the author of over 300 nonfiction articles and reviews. Such training and experience goes hand in hand with her research experience in remote areas (Alaska, coastal Kenya,  central America, rural New York and Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and with the Anabaptist "plain people"), and now, teaching in the Highlands of Mexico. A reference point for her is her seven years of work in a tribal natural resources program at Northwest Indian College. Berardi is currently chair of the Department of Environmental Studies at Huxley College. Twelve years ago, she received Western Washington University's diversity award.

Gigi Berardi received her BA in biology with high honors from John Muir College, University of California San Diego and her MS and PhD in Resources, Policy, and Planning from Cornell University. She holds a MA in dance (now, World Arts and Cultures) from UCLA. She taught at The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington, from 1994-1995, and is now professor and project director (after seven years as chair of the Department of Environmental Studies, a position she again holds) at Huxley College, Western Washington University, where she focuses on community vulnerabilities and cultural ecology. Her research and writing includes study and review of Food and Farm Systems, Native American Studies and Tribal Education, and Performing Arts.